ALL IN THE NAME OF GOOD HEALTH
The current issue (May, 2002) of HEALTH magazine contains an
article about milk, titled:
PINT OF CONTENTION
I anticipated a fair treatment of the subject after
completing a wonderful interview with the author, Timothy
Gower, in February.
When I received my copy, I couldn't help but notice that the
back cover contained a milk mustache ad with rock star Steve
Tyler of Aerosmith.
Before reading the article, I leafed through the magazine,
taking note of the dairy industry's paid tribute to HEALTH.
The table of contents described the article this way:
"While critics question the virtue of milk, others say pour
it on for good health. Here's the bottom line."
How can anybody offer an unbiased "bottom line" assessment
after accepting hundreds of thousands of advertising dollars
from companies promoting dairy products?
Editors of health magazines must make painful decisions.
Either promote health for its readers, or promote the
magazine's financial health by accepting deceptive ads.
Do you imagine that the recipient would bite the hand that
Page 69 (within the body of the article) contains
an ad for Cool Whip.
Page 75 contains a full-page ad for Kefir.
Page 147 contains a full-page ad for Lactaid.
Page 167 contains a full-page ad for Lignt-N-Lively
The back cover contains a milkstache ad.
Taking the advice of the table of contents editor, I went
right to the bottom line. HEALTH writes:
"Want milk? Pour it on-and let the critics have a cow."
On page 66, the author did include an accurate quote from
"'We've got hundreds of lines of converging evidence that
milk does not do a body good,' quips Robert Cohen, author of
MILK-The Deadly Poison, and one of the shrillest dairy
critics in the United States."
So far, so good!
Author Timothy Gower, to his credit, did do justice to the
IGF-I milk issue. He wrote:
"(IGF-I) can encourage the growth of precancerous
cells...dairy products being the richest sources in the
human diet. To milk bashers, that spells danger. 'Any time
you drink a tall, cool glass, you're delivering IGF-I to
your body,' Cohen warns."
Hey, I like this guy!
One area in which Timothy Gower dropped the ball was on the
osteoporosis issue. Gower interviewed Diane Feskanich, the
lead author of the Harvard study that I often cite as
evidence that milk and cheese consumption do not prevent
women from bone fractures.
"Feskanich points out that the increased number of broken
bones among milk-drinkers was modest... too small from which
to draw conclusions."
For goodness sakes, Timothy. There were 78,000 subjects in
the 12-year Harvard study, making it the longest and largest
scientific study in the history of mankind. How could you
allow the author to call the study "too small?"
Timothy Gower quoted Feskanich in his article:
"There is no evidence that milk is harmful."
It's been 5 years since Feskanich's paper was published.
Perhaps she should review what she originally reported. Here
is a quote from Feskanich's landmark 1997 paper (American
Journal of Public Health, Volume 87), a quote that did not
make it to the pages of HEALTH:
"There is no significant association between teenaged milk
consumption and the risk of adult fractures. Data indicate
that frequent milk consumption and higher dietary calcium
intakes in middle aged women do not provide protection
against hip or forearm fractures... women consuming greater
amounts of calcium from dairy foods had significantly
increased risks of hip fractures, while no increase in
fracture risk was observed for the same levels of calcium
from nondairy sources."
"So is it OK to shop the dairy aisle?"
One will never get an accurate answer from a health magazine
that reLIES upon dairy industry funding.